What comes to mind when I say the name Alton Sterling? Or Philando Castile Lavish? Over the past week, news of these men's encounters with the police have become national news. They have ignited underlying prejudices that have been seated in our country and haven't left since the Civil Rights Movement. People are angry. Everywhere I turn there's a Facebook video from one friend supporting one side of the argument, and there's another friend advocating the other side. I have felt so torn about this topic that I had a hard time sleeping because I kept mulling over the implications of my ultimate decision. But I ended up posing the question, "Does it have to be one extreme or the other?"
Black lives matter, blue lives matter, all lives matter. I have gotten so tired of hearing how one is superior. I want to pull my hair out sometimes about these arguments because they are all missing something. The problem is, each side has some form of truth in it. My frustration lies in the fact that we are jumping completely on board of one before looking at the other. This may anger some, but can't we find some kind of middle ground amidst this?
What do I think? I think that when events like these happen, people are struck at the core of their emotions. The way they react can even dig up preconceptions and prejudices they didn't realize they had before. Do I think that it is terrible that these men were shot dead? Yes. Do I think that we should mourn these losses? Absolutely. But do I think that police officers are the scum of the earth? No.
African Americans should not have to live in fear of getting pulled over or having a dangerous encounter with a police officer when they have done nothing wrong. However, the police officers who protect this country should not be generalized as "bad cops." It is terrible that Sterling and Lavish were killed and these officers need to be addressed for their actions, but we cannot just throw out sweeping generalizations about African Americans or police officers in the heat of these moments.
I believe that every life is precious. Every person is worth more than they could ever imagine. I think that sometimes people are blinded by race from seeing the innate value in each person. If we could see the value of each person, the world would probably be a much different place. But the thing is, we live in an imperfect world. It is part of our mission to see the immeasurable value placed on every human being.
Now that's my decision. I'm not picking a side. I'm not creating my own. I am finding some form of a middle ground.